Tar Baby Social Concerns

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In many ways, Tar Baby is Toni Morrison's most enigmatic novel. Whereas the narratives that precede it are set in generally realistic American locales, with a dominant focus on the economic hardship and social ghettoization of African Americans, Tar Baby's principal setting is a lush, exotic Carribean island, fully owned by one of the main characters, a retired white businessman. The central characters of Morrison's earlier novels ordinarily seek to escape their folk-culture and post-slave culture origins, but most of the principal black characters in this novel appear to have succeeded in doing this. Finally, the novel employs nonsequential narration, impressionistic scenepainting, and surrealistic, symbolic narrative in a degree unique to this writer's work. The emphasis on an animated nature and the presence of ghosts and spirits prepared Morrison's audience for her masterpiece, Beloved (1986). Many years after its initial publication, Tar Baby remains the most ambiguous, and perhaps...

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This section contains 1,560 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Tar Baby Short Guide
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